Innocence and Obscenity Maybe

Well the way I see it, innocence is either truth of it simply gets in the way of truth, acting as a roadblock on a person’s progression towards knowing reality. We are encouraged as kids to hold that part of ourselves; to be children at heart for the rest of our lives. However, we realize slowly that it is our duty to grow out of this and become productive members of society. However, which is the truth and what is the real? Do we hold innocence high or should we cast it aside in the search of something more conclusive?

I feel that if we were in a truly individual world it would be complete innocence that would be truth, since said truth would be simply based upon the individual. It would have no other to actually work off of. It would be simplified. Truth would be subjective in the highest order.

However, we do not actually live in a world based on the individual. We live within society and within an aggregate of individuals that work together to achieve a working world. We might not want to face that, but it is true, I think. People that you have never met do have a very severe impact on how you run your life, from toll takers to wall street brokers. However, we don’t realize this connectivity in the least. We go on with our lives thinking that we actually live in this singular life that has no effect on anyone else. The connectivity is there in capitalism and in order to make it to another way, perhaps Marxism or some form of Communism, we would have to completely realize this. We need to pick up the slack of others and realize that in order to work towards truth, and everything that would come with it [better care for everyone involved] we need to abandon the idea of innocence.

We try to live within the individual, but really, is it worth it? I overheard someone last night talking about individualism and heard them say that “you need to be more like an individual; more like me,” and I was befuddled but in a way happy. I understood that this was the way that people, maybe only angsty teenagers trying to escape the dominant culture, actually think. People who believe that they are individuals try to spread that individualism to others and create a group. And I must ask, if we are trying to build groups, then why are we stamping ourselves as individuals? Instead we must put the emphasis on the group, as hard as it might be sometimes, and believe it can go somewhere.

I’m not trying to argue that, in the modern society of America, we never think of the people outside ourselves. However, we mainly do things for the others as a way of emphasizing the individual. I have a serious problem with this. I understand a minimal, little good feeling that you get when helping someone out. But at my own Ursinus College we have programs that reward community service with monetary services. I do think that these are great programs, but by turning the shedding of individualism through service into the collection of capital we only perpetuate the emphasis on the individual. We put a shine on the innocence that, through service, was sanded off coarsely, making it more prevalent than it was even before the service act.

I will admit that I am not a perfect human, social being. I don’t do enough service to my fellow man and I don’t even give enough to my socioeconomic peers, casting them off as ignorant and blinded. So this is all being written in a sort of Utopian sense. I realize that I cannot go out and help everyone. In fact, I cannot even go and strip away my preconceptions of everyone around me currently. But it gives us something to work for. Give that homeless guy a cigarette if he asks for one. You don’t know where we might be as a government and society in the near future. And even if nothing happens and we stay exactly where we are, at least you can reinforce that initial individualism that our current societal landscape keeps us within.

However, I must beg the question: what really is the role of innocence in our lives? I am not a philosophy major and I have not read nearly enough to be anyone of worth on any of the subjects that I discuss on my blog, but I go with it anyway. Oh well….Is innocence some sort of societal construct? It seems like it would be nonexistent within Locke’s world of nature, with everyone fending for their own survival and existence, along with their families of course. However, once we leave that arena, we make it to a world where innocence might make sense. It protects us from a world that has brought us all too near events, doesn’t it make sense that we have it? Is this some sort of new creation or has it existed forever? It would create a nice little plastic bubble/filter that would keep all of the “bad” [real/obscene] out of the world. Is innocence like living within a world where only Street Sharks plays on TV and all the 24/7 news networks are password protected? I don’t know. I liked the words in that sentence, but not really what it means, so sorry for the distraction. But isn’t that what innocence is? A filter or a bubble that protects children? Is it possible that we keep the protection and still know what the real world is? I guess that would mean that you’re going insane or that you’re cold and emotionless. Well maybe that is where I am headed…we’ll see where the road forks and what way I’m leaning towards when that choice comes.

Thanks for reading.



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2 responses to “Innocence and Obscenity Maybe

  1. Ames

    Let’s see how well I can comment on an iPod and waiting for my sleepers to kick in. Hah!

    Innocence is just another word for ignorance. Innocence can be beautiful and charming and naive, but it can also be downright brutal.

    Let’s take a look at Peter Pan for a second. Peter represents a perpetual state of childhood. Children represent innocence. Yet Peter Pan exhibits some pretty unsavory traits in his innocent childhood. He’s ignorant of others’ feelings, egocentric, violent, selfish, stubborn and lawless. As much as Peter’s frivolity, charm and sense of adventure please her–she is disturbed by his wild nature and apparent callousness.

    Peter is ignorant and innocent. Which is good and bad.

    The adults in Peter Pan are learned and jaded. Which is good and bad.

    Growing up and having structure isn’t a bad thing unless you forget about the good traits of being a child. Staying a perpetual child is a bad thing because you remain ignorant and wild.

    It’s not about being one or the other, it is as with most things in life, about acheiving balance.

    That’s my two cents anyway.

  2. C.c.

    What I don’t get from this, and what I really need to properly respond is a definition of “innocence,” either from you or the text. I see a lot of possible meanings, from innocence-as-truth to innocence-as-naivety to innocence as, I don’t know, unmediated experience? Perhaps that last comes closest. But I think we need a rough term from how you (or the text) conceptualizes innocence before we can even begin to attack this question in a way valuable to you.

    For my piece, if we take innocence as unmediated experience, supposing such a thing could even exist, then I think it would have real value. If we take innocence as gullibility, it might be sympathetic and even praiseworthy, but ultimately defeating. And is this this a question of innocence versus cynicism or innocence versus skepticism? (What I mean by asking this is can we define innocence by finding its antipodes, if we cannot define it directly. Maybe in an apogogical way.) I really want to engage this topic though. Can you clarify?

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